Monday, April 29, 2013

Must I explain everything?

Recently I made reference to the “Wild Bull of the Pampas” and was shocked to meet with glassy-eyed stares of total incomprehension from a small group of otherwise intelligent and well-educated individuals who had no idea I was referring to Luis Firpo, the guy in the purple trunks knocking Jack Dempsey out of the ring and into the laps of a bunch of reporters in a pretty dang famous painting by George Bellows famous himself as a member of the Ashcan School and though the art of conversation may not be dead pal it is certainly circling the drain.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My pot boileth over.

It is unlikely you would ever happen to read “The Valiants of Virginia” by Hallie Ermine Rives, although in 1913 it was a bestseller. Here's how it begins:

“'Failed!' ejaculated John Valiant blankly, and the hat he held dropped to the claret-colored rug like a huge white splotch of sudden fright. 'The Corporation – failed!'”

Seriously. And the hilarity continues. So here's a note to anyone who thinks writing is getting worse: Literature is like houses. It might seem they built them better 100 years ago. But, see, after a century only the best ones are still standing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Skepticism is to cynicism as doubt is to...?

Truth is to fact as faith is to knowledge as hope is to optimism. You can know a fact; you can only glimpse a truth. A fact is like a stick of lumber. Complete, nailed down, utilitarian. You can turn it over and pass it around and examine it from every angle. But a truth is alive, a cool toad between cupped palms. You just barely get to peek at it through a gap between your fingers. Open too wide and it’s gone. Squeeze too tight and you kill it. And it will more than likely pee in your hand.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Deep down inside, I'm very shallow.

If you're a regular reader (Hi. Let's have lunch.) you may remember a rant where I posted some near-automatic writing scribbled on an envelope in the middle of the night. This is even dumber. I woke up and remembered a dream: I was having tea with a group of people when somebody said, “I like that camouflage tea at bed time.” And I said, “You mean chamomile. Camouflage tea is when you drink it on the lawn it's made of grass, but when you're in the woods it's oak leaves.” Great. I make bad puns in my sleep.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bye Week

It’s April Fools’ day. Probably you’d be assuming that as a professional rantist I would be churning out some sort of especially funny word play or an unusually astute and droll observation about this funny world we live in. I’m not going to do that. I think we agree that I could, and pretty easily. My record is clear. But, see, the point of this special day is to confound one another with wacky pranks and hilarious high jinx, and thereby create laffs. To me, it’s like New Year’s Eve to a truly committed alcoholic: Amateur hour. I’m laying low.